Close Encounters

Over the last few days, life has been interesting!

Our first encounter of note was with this big boy in the area of the St Lawrence Seaway known as The Narrows. It was aptly named! This ship was travelling at 13 knots towards us, and we were making 5 knots up river. Discretion is the better part of valour – Mark did a u-turn and circled close to the riverbank.

Our second encounter was with the wonderfully friendly Canadians, either side of our slip and along the pier of the marina we stayed in, in Gananoque, Ontario. We made it to Canada! Our new leg begins. In celebration, Mark raised the Aussie flag once he had completed customs formalities.

Gananoque, (pronounced Gan-an-ock-we) is a cute town in the Thousand Islands, arrived at through some stunningly narrow channels between islands. Very picturesque. After exploring the town, we decided to walk one of the well-marked trails. This third encounter I really could have done without! Not long into the walk, low and behold one of the things which really freak me out happened. A snake slithered three feet away from my sandal-clad feet. I wish I could say I remained calm. I wish I could say I pulled Mark away from the snake. I wish I could say I didn’t let out a blood-curdling scream. Alas, I was a blithering mess. But, we did continue on with the walk… past signs of poisonous plants warning walkers not to touch; through swarms of gnats; fending off big, ugly, black, biting flies; past tic-infested grass. And they say Australia is dangerous!

The next encounter was Kingston – the city of limestone. With its waterway, spacious parks, heritage listed homes, amazing eateries and more, this city is drop-dead gorgeous. We did a trolley tour yesterday to get our bearings and a little history. We drove through the Royal Military College. I am in awe of Annapolis and West Point, but the buildings and position of the RMC are sublime. The RMC is overlooked by the sprawling Fort Henry, perched on the hilltop with commanding views. Dotted around the Kingston waterfront are the Martello Towers – redoubts. One is situated in Confederation Marina where we reside.

We had a lovely encounter with some Canadian friends whom we had met on the Erie Canal. They invited us to their 1826 home for drinks before we walked to their yacht club for dinner. Kingston is a very walkable city. The evening was one of laughter and good friendship – a truly lovely encounter!

Today’s encounter was a real eye-opener. We did a tour of the Kingston Penitentiary. It was decommissioned in 2013. It was a sobering insight into the harsh life of correction facilities. We listened to stories from former correction officers – appalling and inspirational. A place to avoid at all costs.

As I had ’dragged’ Mark there, he deserved a beer, so after our return walk we detoured for a gelato for me, and a craft beer at a brewery for Mark. On the way, we found this Irish sign. American friends may not get the Aussie humour with this sign!

Our last encounter for the day was one exceptionally amazing tapas dinner at an eatery with abundant ambiance. Life is good!

Such is Life!

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